James Nord, Founder of Fohr
Over the last decade, social media platforms have made the world a much smaller place where we can communicate faster, cnnekt with new people more easily, and share news more instantaneously. Along with making the world a smaller place, social media has brought about a different kind of celebrity, “the influencer”. James Nord, the founder and CEO of Fohr, an influencer-marketing platform, is furthering the industry by connecting major brands with influencers, running managed campaigns, and providing influencers with resources to grow their brand. Continue reading to learn more about James and why not all influencers are created equal.
James, can you speak about why you created Fohr and how it has made an impact on the marketing industry?
Rich and I started Fohr because we wanted to create a more egalitarian model for the distribution of influencer opportunity. We knew there were talented people who weren’t getting opportunities that they would excel in because of their lack of connections or proximity to New York’s fashion houses. We wanted to create a platform that would level the playing field.
How do you think the careers you had before Fohr helped shape you and prepare you for life as a CEO and founder?
Every job I had good and bad help me run this company more efficiently. The Wall Street job taught me not to be afraid to hear a potential client say no, I worked at a wedding planning website where I learned how to build products online, I worked at a travel brand where I learned how to think about how to create a personality for a brand, I worked at a stock photography company where I feel in love with cameras and my last job taught me how to navigate huge companies to find the person you need to sell to. I was never really satisfied with my pre-Fohr career, but looking backwards the dots connect and I am thankful for all of those jobs, good and bad.
In the future, how do you think influencers will impact how we define celebrity?
Well, I think it’s already shifting who gets to call themselves a celebrity, but really it’s not all that different. Celebrities traditionally have been people who build a fan base by entertaining people (artists, actors , musicians etc) or who’s work or station in life raises their public profile to a level where they become part of the public lexicon (high profile CEO’s, socialites etc.)
What ways do you think social media will shift in the coming years?
I think it will only become more important and integrated into everything we do. I think in the next few years we will see the influence of Instagram falling a bit as a new platform(s) emerge.
What are some common misconceptions about influencers and influencer marketing?
I think a lot of people dismiss it as some kind of joke, which whatever, dinosaurs always scoff at the oncoming comet, that’s to be expect. Beyond that, I think people don’t understand the differences within the space. The person hocking fit tea shirtless in their kitchen isn’t really doing the same kind of work as some of the more talented influencers in the space.
It’s like looking at actors and saying Rob Schneider and Daniel Day Lewis are exactly the same because they technically have the same job.
In the past few years, influencer marketing has become the norm. But much like careers in entertainment, influencers’ careers have an expiration date. Eventually, they will need to diversify their streams of income and apply their skills elsewhere. What are influencers doing now to prepare for the future?
Not sure most influencers are doing enough to prepare for that shift. I see some influencers diversifying their streams, editing apps or clothing collections, but if you’re 28 you still have 30-40 years of your career left and while I don’t think the influencer space is going anywhere an individual influencer’s ability to extract money from that market will diminish over time so it’s a real concern that each influencer needs to find their own answer for.
What is on the horizon for you and your team at Fohr?
It is our intention to be the biggest and best influencer marketing company in the world, that continues to be our goal and we get closer every day.
Interviewed by Renee